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A Girl-lead Art Response To Combat Substance Abuse

1 out of 3 girls who are enrolled in a Pace Program self-reported substance abuse. Increasing access to health and holistic wellness for girls is of critical importance, as mental health and substance use rates have risen substantially due to the prolonged global pandemic.

Pace girls and renowned muralist, Nico, co-created a mural titled You Belong Hereto send a message of acceptance, shared experience, worth and inclusion. The project was designed to be a healing experience that allowed for full freedom of expression. Each element on the mural was intentionally designed by the young artists. Imagery represents the girls’ cultures, experiences, personalities, and visions of their future selves.

“I designed myself, but how I see myself in the future. My girl is spray painting ‘Mahal Kita,’ which means ‘I love you’ in Tagalog. My mom is Filipino, and she used to say it to me as a child. I want to send a message to other girls that you have a chance. You deserve to come to Pace and get a second chance in life.” —Adrianna, 12

“My favorite part of this experience was spray painting on the wall. My character’s name is ‘Cloud.’ She has a skin condition that changes parts of her skin color. I designed her like this because I want to send a message of inclusion. Her clothes represent that everyone has a different style.” — Natalie, 14

“Creating a mural with Nico and the other girls was an empowering experience for me. Sharing my story through art expression allowed for new healing. It is exciting to know that our work and my experiences will help uplift other girls going through difficult times.” — Jossmaire, 15

Our girls recognize they have an important role to play as young leaders — raising their voices through art to make a difference in their communities. And more importantly, they believe they can ignite future generations, as changemakers and inspiration for future Pace girls.

Visit here to learn more about the girls’ inspiration for their artwork.

The PLAYERS Championship Village’s partnership with Pace continues the work and advances the mission and purpose of The Village, which is a not-for-profit organization that was formed in 1987, to provide drug and alcohol treatment recovery for youth aged 13 to 17 who could not afford treatment through for-profit facilities.

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